Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Bill would monitor prescriptions

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — An Ohio lawmaker wants to make it tougher for prescription drug abusers to get their fixes.

        House Rep. Tom Raga, R-Deerfield Twp., said Tuesday he will introduce legislation this weekthat would create a statewide database to identify people who shop for doctors to acquire addictive painkillers for their own use or for sale.

        Such a database would be modeled after a three-year-old program in Kentucky called the Kentucky All-Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting system, or KASPER, Mr. Raga said.

        That program has been such a success, say local police, that it is pushing prescription abusers from Kentucky into Greater Cincinnati to buy powerful painkillers, such as OxyContin, as well as stimulants and tranquilizers.

        “Once Kentucky put their program into place, those abusers cross the boarder into Ohio, where there is not a monitoring program,” Mr. Raga said.

        “The problem has been mentioned frequently by our drug enforcement folks in Warren County and I can imagine that the problem is worse in areas that border Kentucky. If they're already driving up to Warren County, they are stopping along the way.”

        Ohio's database would be controlled by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy, which would provide information to law enforcement, pharmacists and doctors.

        “It will be of major assistance for people that get involved in drug investigations,” said John Burke, commander of the Warren County Drug Task Force.

        “Doctor shopping is a hugely underrated problem. It is across the country. It goes pretty much unreported or undetected unless you have an agency that's dedicated to it.”

        It was one of Mr. Burke's agents, Dennis Luken, a retired prescription drug investigator for the Cincinnati Police Department, who proposed the creation of an Ohio monitoring system, Mr. Raga said.

        Mr. Raga said he hopes the bill will be ready for the governor's signature by the end of the year.


Chinese teen writes home - a book
Lemmie loved in Dayton
Detective outlines two killings
Opponents of Roach stand fast in Evendale
Children's starts rare transplant
CPS board president sees city stake in rebuilding plan
Dorothy C. Bailey, 90, former Woman of the Year, dies
Fingergate questions remain
Loveland racial talks Sunday
Police say some CAN ideas are in works
Schools meeting upsets some
Sister City program shows us how to mix
Steady hand on the camera
Tristate A.M. Report
HOWARD: Some Good News
RADEL: Mind manners
SAMPLES: Testing luck
- Bill would monitor prescriptions
Drive for referendum meets goal
Hamilton council to discuss city manager's future
Mason not funding 3 positions
New use possible for Mercy Hamilton
Newtown battles firefighting issues
Students put books on computer
Warren Co. disputes cop force claims
Bridge renaming faces uphill fight
Democrats load up to unseat McConnell
Jump-start money arrives to build homes for needy
Kentucky News Briefs
N. Ky. starts moving to meet storm water order
River park's value debated
Senate bill would let merged volunteer fire companies keep training money
Senior center may open next month
Tax proposals floated amid state money woes
Woman accused of sex with son